Fall 2017 / Featured / Poetry / Poetry 2017 / Uncategorized / Volume 48

You–Brenton Rossow

in the midst of a euphoric head massage

I’m haunted by a vision of you;

colours and patterns

and lines that don’t connect,

a plait of hair hanging over a shoulder

as you stand underneath a bottle-brush

in the garden of our apartment on the highway


I can see a brass door handle

and a window that wants to be kicked,

that lifeless papasan chair in the living room,

and a glass-cluttered bench by the sink


the taps turn on

and water gushes thick,

now you’re crawling

on your hands and knees to the toilet

and it’s all purple and green


but we used to have

our own cozy place;

fake black and white tiles;

like Elvis,

all ankles,

pawing the mike


I always felt like

I was dancing in that kitchen,

even though I was only making a sandwich


you baked up some greasy fish one night

and they slid

to the bottom of my belly

and they’re flapping their tails still



me in a tie,

silly pony tail

and bony ribs

… six foot four,

sixty nine kilograms,

looking at your smooth rounded buttocks

as we experimented in the mirror

bought from the swap meet for fifty eight cents


every Sunday we set

the alarm clock for six am,

headed into the darkness

and rummaged through people’s junk

laid out in a car park

upon blankets and rugs


now I’m seeing cases of butterflies

that hung above the brown couch and the telephone

your sister and mother would call

but they never came to visit

because your father was the Minister

of my father’s church,

and even though he probably never said it,

we were living in sin

in a two bedroom apartment

opposite a fried chicken hut


but I loved the cafés

and the music shops;

you could sit in an expensive chair

and listen to thrash music

while the proprietor pretended

he was young and hip

can you believe I worked

in that department store

down in the valley

with onion rings

for ninety five cents?


What was I doing there

amongst geriatrics and mannequins,

selling ‘Men’s Wear’

to housewives dripping

with gold credit cards and sparkly rings?


I guess you asked yourself the same question

and one night you got blind-fucking-drunk


I knew it was just the booze talking,

so I tried to record you on a tape recorder

and play it back to you

but that just sent you apeshit;

clawing at the eject button

like a freak in a helicopter

about to hit the ground


I was so furious,

I tossed a perfectly

good tape recorder

off the third floor balcony

into the middle of the highway

you watched it

explode and die

then you disappeared out the door,

and an hour later

I found you passed out

on a pile of grass clippings,

pushed up against a brick wall

I picked you up

and carried you back inside

but the damage was done


I phoned my mother

and asked for advice

but that made things worse


the problem…

I’ll never know;

could have been the guilt of living in sin

and a feeling your family had disowned you,

or maybe I was just getting on your nerves

with my self-centered shit


… always in the back of my mind


the fact

we were

only nineteen


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